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Poor Land in Jail as Companies Add Huge Fees for Probation

NY Times @ Truthout - Three years ago, Gina Ray, who is now 31 and unemployed, was fined $179 for speeding. She failed to show up at court (she says the ticket bore the wrong date), so her license was revoked.

When she was next pulled over, she was, of course, driving without a license. By then her fees added up to more than $1,500. Unable to pay, she was handed over to a private probation company and jailed — charged an additional fee for each day behind bars.  Read more.

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Every autumn, Victorians swarmed into the woods to collect ferns. From the 1850s until Queen Victoria’s demise, pteridomania (meaning “fern mania”) engulfed Victorians on both sides of the Atlantic. Almost every house had a potted fern. Those who could afford to, kept rare fern varieties “under the ample bell-glass, or in the Wardian case… to enliven the parlor window in the wintry season of the year.”  There were fern books, fern societies, and florists bulked out floral arrangements with ferns. Fern-collecting went beyond past-time to become an occupation.  Read more.